Thoughts for would-be executionersI'm sure that I speak...

the Forum

November 29, 1993

Thoughts for would-be executioners

I'm sure that I speak for many others besides myself when I say I've had more than enough irritating prattle from vengeful, uninformed people such as Robert W. Warson Jr. of Timonium who insist on playing God (The Forum, Nov. 17).

Mr. Warson's letter, "Society must protect itself from destroyer," stated that convicted murderer John Thanos, ". . . is too dangerous even for prison, he must be removed from the midst of humanity."

To accomplish this end, Mr. Warson feels that Thanos must die, lest he repeat his crimes in the future.

Why is it so difficult for Mr. Warson and others to understand that the issue is not whether John Thanos is executed, but whether capital punishment has any place in the criminal justice system of a supposedly civilized country?

Over the years, it has been proven that the death penalty does not deter people from committing capital offenses.

Since the deterrence rationale is no longer valid, the only reason for executing someone comes down to sheer retribution -- the archaic "eye for an eye" mentality.

Furthermore, studies show that during the 20th century an alarming number of innocent people have been put to death.

Most importantly, the death penalty is not administered fairly. In fact, it violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

It's extremely easy for someone totally divorced from the incident to say, "Thanos must die for the crimes he committed."

But would Mr. Warson and the other capital punishment proponents sing the same tune if they were called upon to actually perform the deed, rather than merely sit back and pontificate upon it?

Louis P. Boeri

Baltimore

Lock'em all up

There is trouble on the streets of Baltimore.

Our kids are being shot at an alarming rate as they are caught in the cross-fire of flying bullets that have become a symbol of power and prestige among the thugs that control many of our streets.

The obvious solution to this problem, as many law-abiding citizens of our city see it, is to lock up the criminals who have turned our neighborhoods into their own private battle ground.

Yet the solution as the Baltimore City Council sees it is to lock up the children.

Now why didn't I think of that?

Carroll M. Smith Jr.

Baltimore

Baltimore asset

Baltimore is fortunate in being represented by athletes who not only make their living here but who also become a part of, and contribute to, the community. Such a person is the Orioles' Jim Poole.

Jim recently came to Dulaney High School at 7 a.m. to speak to members of Students Against Driving Drunk and all school athletes. He impressed both the faculty and students with his intelligence, graciousness and concern for the problems affecting teen-agers today.

Jim Poole's value to Baltimore goes well beyond his ability to get an important out in the late innings.

Elizabeth Goodman

Timonium

The writer is a counselor at Dulaney High School.

Dumb GOP?

I feel I must answer the commentary of Mike Royko (Nov. 17) that stated, "If it turns out that Republicans stole the governor's election in New Jersey by bribing blacks not to vote, I'll be surprised.

"I never thought Republicans were that smart."

I am a Republican and feel that all Republicans, including myself, are not illiterate, as your writer seems to feel we are.

After reading some of his commentaries in past editions of your paper, I'm not too sure he shouldn't be placed in the category with the Republicans he so downgrades.

If Republicans are not "too smart," why did President Clinton ask for their votes for the North American Free Trade Agreement?

ASince I have purchased your paper for at least 30 years and I am, as stated, a Republican, I feel an apology is in order from Mr. Royko.

Mrs. Donald Baltzell

Union Bridge

Poetic justice

It's a shame that the Democratic Party is broke in Maryland. Now they can suffer the same fate they brought to the taxpayers with years of rob-and-squander politics. Poetic justice is sweet revenge.

Ronald L. Dowling

Baltimore

All talk

It was with great interest that I read Mike Littwin's Nov. 15 column "Lots of tough talk on crime, but not many close looks."

In his conclusion he emphasized attacking problems with young people at the beginning and not the end.

This struck home, since my friend who lives in the city and I witnessed a group of young teens defacing property in the Ednor Gardens section of Baltimore. They all had huge black permanent ink magic markers and were writing their names on all the stop signs in broad daylight.

We stopped and spoke to the teens and told them that the people who live in the neighborhood work hard to keep it nice and don't like people writing all over the signs with graffiti.

The kids got very abusive and surrounded the car, then walked away continuing with their "artwork."

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